World's Ugliest Dog Contest

World's Ugliest Dog Contest

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Updated Sep 26, 2023 at 03:48PM EDT by James.

Added Jun 30, 2015 at 02:10PM EDT by Ari Spool.

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The World's Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual contest at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair where dogs compete for the titular crown. The contest, which has been running since the 1970s, has caused several unconventional-looking dogs to become famous. Each winner receives a $1000 prize and a trophy.[2]


The World's Ugliest Dog Contest has been running annually in the fourth week of June since the 1970s, and as part of the Sonoma-Marin County Fair in California since 1988.[2] The contest attracts entrants from around the world, and for several years the contest was sponsored by and aired on the television channel Animal Planet.[6] The contest is also used to promote shelter adoption for dogs, as many of the winners have been adopted from shelters or puppy mills.

The contest has been featured in a book, called World's Ugliest Dogs: The Official World's Ugliest Dog Contest Book and in an hour-long documentary called Worst in Show.[3][4]

Online Presence

The contest began to have a noted online presence when online voting began in the early 2000s, via the Sonoma-Marin County Fair web site.[1] However, the online voting has no bearing on who wins the contest, which is decided by a rotating cast of judges.

In 2005, the contest reached widespread audiences after the third win of a hairless Chinese Crested named Sam. Sam's ugliness was so profound that he became an international star, including a role on television as a cat on Criss Angel's Halloween special Mindfreak.[5] Sam is often considered to be the mascot of the /co/ board on 4chan. Sam died in 2005 at the age of 15.

After Sam's fame, the contest retained an annual notoriety, with the winner being announced and publicized every year in late June.

Notable Developments


2000 and 2001

Nana, a dog of unknown breed.


Rascal, a Chinese Crested


Sam, a Chinese Crested


Archie, a Chinese Crested


Elwood, a Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix


Gus, a Chinese Crested


Pabst, a Boxer mix


Princess Abby, a Chihuahua


Yoda, a Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix


Mugly, a Chinese Crested


Walle, a Beagle-Basset-Boxer mix


Peanut, a Chihuahua-Shih Tzu mix

Werld' PLACE


Quasi Modo, a hunchbacked pit bull-Dutch shepherd mix

2018 Victor

At the 2018 contest, Zsa Zsa, a 9 year old English Bulldog from Anoka, Minnesota took the prize, winning $1,500.

NPR[7] noted that the dog spent five years in a puppy mill before being rescued, perhaps contributing to her appearance. Online, users were typically split as to whether the dog was indeed hideous or cute. Twitter user @BrandyLJensen took the former opinion, gaining over 1,300 likes (shown below, left). User @lppny stated that anyone who thought the dog was ugly was "a cop" (shown below, right).

Brandy Jensen @BrandyLJensen Following a lot of people are going to tweet about how this dog is actually adorable and they're all f------ liars The Boston Globe. @BostonGlobe Meet the winner of the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest: Zsa Zsa the English Bulldog. 4:40 PM-24 Jun 2018 4Se Luis Paez-Pumar @lppny Following if you think this pup is ugly, you a cop The Boston Globe. @BostonGlobe Meet the winner of the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest: Zsa Zsa the English Bulldog. 1:15 PM-24 Jun 2018

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